A report by the doctor who examined 92-year-old media mogul Sumner Redstone on behalf of his former live in companion Manuela Herzer backs up Herzer’s contention that Redstone lacks the mental capacity to make health care and financial decisions, according to published report.
A court agreed to let Herzer’s medical expert, Dr. Stephen Read, examine Redstone, who controls Viacom and CBS. His 37-page report was entered in the court records last week, but were heavily redacted, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Herzer filed a suit challenging her removal as a person responsible for Redstone’s medical care once he is incapacitated. Herzer had been evicted from Redstone’s house and cut out of his will.
Since the suit was filed, Redstone has stepped down as executive chairman of Viacom and CBS.
Viacom has also been the subject of shareholder complaints and lawsuits that Redstone and CEO Philippe Dauman have not done enough to grow the company, whose stock has plunged to a six-year low.
In a related move, Institutional Shareholder Services is opposing the re-election of six Viacom directors, according to a report by Bloomberg.
ISS, a proxy adviser, opposed the directors because they approved a $17 million equity award that isn’t tied to the company’s performance to CEO Philippe Dauman.
The six directors are members of the board’s compensation committee. They are Blythe McGarvie, Charles Phillips Jr., Frederic Salerno, William Schwartz, Deborah Norville and Christiana Falcone Sorrell.
“Shareholders may be concerned by the number of directors -- even those independent under ISS’ policy -- with ties to the company or the Redstone family,” the proxy adviser said in its report. “These ties, along with ongoing concerns over executive compensation and independent oversight at Viacom, call in to question the board’s willingness to represent the interests of minority shareholders.”
Bloomberg said Viacom disputed ISS’s finding in an emailed statement.
“We strongly disagree with the analysis of ISS, which includes inaccuracies in reaching its conclusions,” the company said. “The Viacom board pays great attention to its governance and its responsibilities to all stockholders.”
Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.
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